How to Outrun the Darkness*

*For Chester. May your lights never dim. Your first step - really, your most important step, the step you will return to again and again - is to name the darkness. You see, it operates best in secret, this darkness. It keeps you shrouded and cloaked in its shadows, making sure you feel completely isolated … Continue reading How to Outrun the Darkness*

16 and Pregnant in South Africa

A number of years ago, when I was still working in the development sector, I visited an organisation working in an area in Mpumalanga that has high rates of 'teen pregnancy'. Most of the visit was spent at the local primary school where I met girls as young as 13 who were balancing first-time motherhood and … Continue reading 16 and Pregnant in South Africa

The politics of hair and language

On Sunday morning I had a delightful breakfast with some friends I had not seen in a long time, over breakfast we discussed the Hawks, the Burkini ban in France and Sipho Pitayana’s speech, which for all of us was fascinating. We all postulated different theories on what would follow, and the possible impact on … Continue reading The politics of hair and language

Know that racism is a system…

Law | Life | Leanings

Racism isn’t a series of “isolated incidents,” it isn’t random occurrences of hatred… racism is a systemic and structural scourge gnawing at the very core of society.It is this system of racism that allows Chris Hart to blame economic decay on what he terms hate-filled and entitled black people.

It is this system that allows Penny Sparrow to refer to black people as littering monkeys who blemish *her country.

It is this system of racism that sees 12 Apostles hotel still welcoming patrons with nary a slap on their metaphorical wrists.

It is this system of racism that allows Justin van Vuuren to express his disgust at blackness and to tell black people to “go back where you came from” (without even an ounce of irony).

It is this system that sees estate agencies like Trafalgar continue to thrive even though time and time again they have shown their xenophobia…

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No hood like this mamahood

The first year of motherhood. May I be so presumptuous as to write about it from within, before I have fully emerged, one-year-old and smashed (sugar and gluten free) birthday cake in each hand? I. The pulsating loneliness of it. I don't quite know how to explain it. You won't be alone, ever. If you're … Continue reading No hood like this mamahood

ANC Manifesto: Unsurprisingly unfeminist


Shehnaz Cassim-Moosa Shehnaz Cassim-Moosa

Athambile Masola Athambile Masola

By Shehnaz Cassim-Moosa and Athambile Masola

The ANC manifesto was launched in January 2014. There is nothing in the 2014 manifesto that is remarkably different to what has come before. The ANC has recommitted itself to implementing the National Development Plan and as can be expected in such an unequal country, the economy and job creation is at the heart of the manifesto.

Gender equality gets a neat paragraph in the manifesto but again there is nothing new or startling:

In democratic South Africa, women’s voices are heard and women’s issues are seriously addressed. Institutional mechanisms have been established to protect women’s rights and dignity. Progress has been made in freeing women from customs and practices that undermine their rights. Progress in meeting basic needs such as housing and access to water has especially benefited women, redressing past inequalities. More girls are in school and tertiary institutions…

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Elections Analysis: The Freedom Front Plus


By Claire Martens*

The Freedom Front Plus, under the direction of its leader, Pieter Mulder, is a political party with self-inflicted contradictions. When looking at any political party in South Africa, you are bound to find trouble in reconciling a dichotomous stance of anti-this and pro-that, especially when you are looking through a human rights lens. Not surprisingly, there are few aspects of the FF+ that one can appreciate from a distance; especially if your heritage puts you outside of the party’s focus.

Protecting the women – which women?

For example, the FF + calls strongly for the protection of women and children but, while this is not a restrictive call, as a pro-Afrikaner right-wing group, the unsaid premise is that the protection should be afforded to white [Afrikaner] women and children in particular. Taking into account the patriarchal nature of Afrikaner cultural and religious values, where women are…

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Elections Analysis: The Economic Freedom Fighters


Sanja Bornman

By Sanja Bornman 

The Economic Freedom Fighters (EEF) was officially founded on 17 August 2013. Even in the run-up to its registration with the IEC, barely a day has gone by without some mention of the new-comer political party or its “commander in chief” and enfant terrible of South Africans politics, Julius Malema, in the press. There is plenty of controversy and red berets to go around, and love ‘em or hate ‘em, the EFF has certainly made a splash.

But, all knee-jerk reactions to the EFF aside, is this a party that you should vote for if you are a woman, and you value your rights? Is this a party that believes in women’s equality? What are its plans for making women’s equality a lived reality in South Africa, and are those plans any good? Most importantly, is this a party that walks the women’s rights talk?


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What’s in a name: Meditations on Feminism

"Feminism is not a possession. It is not a credential. It is not the mantle on which to build one's brand. There are liberal and conservative feminists. There are religious or spiritual and atheistic or agnostic feminists. Feminists inhabit the gender spectrum and are represented by all races and ethnicities. Breaking news! Feminists are individuals … Continue reading What’s in a name: Meditations on Feminism